Monthly Archives May 2017

HMS GANGES South Australian AGM 2017 Newsletter

The Shotley Buzz No 52

28th May 2017

It has been quite a while since the last South Australian Shotley Buzz, this is due to unfortunate circumstances, we lost our President David Friend who had been very ill with complex problems, also in April we lost our previous Treasurer Ted Arnold who had moved to Queensland to be near his daughter whilst he saw out his time with lung cancer. David’s wife Penny and Ted’s wife Joyce received many condolences from within the Ganges network.

Since the time I stood down as President due to my cancer David and I worked closely together, so he asked me to keep things going during the last few months.

We normally hold our AGM in June/July but due to changed circumstances this was brought forward to 18th May 2017. I was appointed as President/secretary a job we have always combined for convenience in a relatively small group. Margaret Burgess kindly took on the role of treasurer, Mike Crowley(57) took on the role of Vice President and Bob Chumley continues the good work of welfare officer. Margaret and Mike became our signatories for our account at the credit union.

Members present all signed a letter of thanks  to Robyn Renyard daughter in law of our late treasurer Vince Renyard, during the time we were an incorporated body Robyn audited our accounts free.

We had a good turn up for the meeting but with 10 apologies from members and their wives mainly sickness, being away and standing apologies for long distance.

We then continued into an ordinary meeting which was held at our normal venue hopefully everyone enjoyed their meal and socialising with each other.

The attached photograph at the luncheon shows members present holding the South Australian Ganges Ensign is 97 year old Peter Thomas (1940)



Our next general meeting will be held in mid July.


Your aye

Derek Ernst


HMS Ganges Victorian Division Newsletter (Masthead 225)

Victoria Australia

Chairman: David Lines.   Secretary: Harry Harrison



Secretary conveyed Chairman David Lines’ apologies David and Janet are on a cruise over the Top End and onto Singapore. Smooth sailing for them. Secretary opened the meeting and welcomed all.

Birthdays for April  Charles Jenkinson 92, Alby Cunliffe 91, Ken Irons 86, Bill Agnew 82.Congratulations, Very Happy Birthdays to the Four Amigos

Apologies David and Janet Lines, John and Maureen Hannant, Tom Clark and his daughter Jane, Jean Rees, Sally Briscoe, Albie and Phyllis Cunliffe, Owen and Carmel Dingle, Mary Stephens, Joe Deguara, Charles Jenkinson, Ric Clark, Mike Bennett, Ada Barnard, Flo Livingston, Harry Thacker To those of you who are not well, a speedy recovery. To all others we hope all is well. The apologies outweighed those present at the meeting

Sick List   Albie Cunliffe had an accident at his gang hearty he is recovering well Best of Luck Albie.

CTB South Australia  President David Friend and SA member Tom Arnold Crost the Bar Vale David and Tom

Treasurers Report   Account Balance Victorian Division $3.440.23

Correspondence  Bank statement, Solent Division, Queensland newsletter. Sympathy cards and emails acknowledging CTB’s.

UK Association    Have held another successful reunion and AGM. Colin Gent was elected Chairman of the association unopposed. Our congratulations to Colin. Our best wishes for a steady as she goes for the association. All the committee were re-elected our congratulations to all. The Victorian Division acknowledges and thank the Chairman and committee for all their hard work, and professional approach to governing the Association. BZ

 General Business 1) October Get Together The division has put on hold 12 rooms at Club Mulwala Resort. From the 16th.-21st. October. The rooms available are 3 standard rooms discount tariff $128, 8 premium discount tariff $148, 1 deluxe tariff $156 and one two roomed room discount tariff $280. A deposit of one nights’ tariff is required 2 months prior to arrival, refund 24 hours before arrival. Would all those interested contact the secretary or chairman.

There are a number of wineries, breweries and other attractions and places of interest in the area. A list and options and prices will be available at next meeting.

2) Queensland Division President Charlie Greensmith informs us that due to his medical condition he is stepping down as president of the division. Charlie has done an excellent job steering the division over a number of years. The smooth transition to a new Chairman Scotty Slaney is a credit to his administration. We congratulate Charlie on a job well done and wish him and Lorna the very best of everything for the future.

We welcome Scotty as President and hope to catch up with him in the future. Be interesting how he got the nickname Scotty when not born in Scotland.

3) South Australia  Our condolences have been forwarded to the SA division and the family of the President David Friend who Crost the Bar.  To our knowledge Peter Burgess has been Acting President whether Peter has taken the position of President is not known. IPP Derek Ernst is keeping us informed. Our best of luck to all.


1) Harry Kime thanked the division on behalf of the FNMC committee for the donation to ANZAC day activities at the club. An enjoyable day was had by those who attended.

Secretary  Thanked Joan and Harry for a most enjoyable lunch. A big thank you to Barbara Canty for a delicious dessert. Harry for tending the bar and Mark Kinder for tending the bar and assisting in the kitchen

2) A reminder that the RNA lunch for May is on the 3rd Sunday the 21st. May there will be a service to dedicate a plaque in remembrance of Jimmy Johnson commencing at 1200hrs. For catering numbers for lunch contact Mike.

The next meeting is at Seven Bells *(1130hrs) May the 24th. 2017. at FNMC

Regards – Harry Harrison

Thought for the month: – “Try to learn something about everything and everything about something” Thomas Henry Huxley

Albie on his 91st Birthday decided the Cunliffe clan would invade Berwick. Albie is wearing body armour ?

Stop Press

Thomas Bell Clark CPO Steward


Tom Crost the Bar Tuesday 8/05/2017.

Our condolences to his daughters Jane and Miriam and Granddaughter Emma.

The funeral is Tuesday 16th. May 2017 at

David W Bull funeral parlour

190 Princes Highway Pakenham.

Vale Tom

HMS GANGES National AGM 2017




held at Gunton Hall, Lowestoft

22 April 2017






Colin Gent Vice-Chairman
Cliff Snelling Secretary
Phil Bridge Treasurer
Ken Bushnell Membership Secretary
Des Kerrigan Events & Standards
Charles (Florrie) Ford Certificate Secretary
John Woolley Tony Willders Reunion Secretary
George Barnham


The Vice-Chairman, Colin Gent, opened the meeting at 10:00.


The National Standard (Tony Cooke), together with Standards from West London (Paddy Minns), Devonport (Sam Raspison), Dorset (Ray Fraser), Fulham & Chelsea (Glenn (Jacko) Jack), Shotley (John Yougman), and Solent (Alan Hudspeth) were paraded under Standards Marshall Des Kerrigan, and inspected by Eddie Seaborne and John Woolley.

1.     To remember those who Crossed the Bar

Peter Taylor, Life Vice President, stated that the Association had been notified of 86 members who had crossed the bar since the last AGM.  Standards were dipped as he read out the names of the 27 Members who had crossed the bar since the last issue of the Gazette. A silence was observed in remembrance.

2.       Chairman’s opening comments

The Vice-Chairman, Colin Gent, welcomed everyone to the Reunion and AGM. He said he would like to acknowledge the presence of Founding Members and that we had two Life Vice Presidents present today in Peter Taylor and John (Shep) Woolley.  He thanked everyone for making the effort to travel the length and breadth of the country to be there, and in particular those members who had travelled from abroad.  Colin invited the overseas members to come up and announce themselves.

Paul Pritchard – Spain; Ken Marjoram – Canada; Michael Kerr – USA; David Pegg – France

They were warmly applauded by all those present.

Colin continued, saying that 12 months ago we left AGM without a Chairman in Office, and two committee members short.  He had offered to hold the reins as Acting Chairman until this AGM, a position he did not expect, but he saw his job as to try and keep a steady ship, work within the committee, and fulfil the expectations of the Association.  By and large, despite a few squalls along the way, he hoped, like him, members agreed that that had been achieved. Colin said we had seconded two new members, Tony Willders and George Barnham, adding on one hand youth, and on the other experience, to the Committee, and he thanked them for giving up what will become a lot of their free time for the benefit of the Association and its members.

Colin said that likewise, each and every one of the Committee give up a vast amount of their time, working tirelessly for the benefit of the Association, and he hoped that members would be heartened by the reports that would be given today.  He stated that he could not and would not be able to fulfil his role without their dedicated support.

Colin said that also there were many members, each playing a very important part in not only the functionality of the Association, but its very being, giving up their free time in supporting, promoting, and attending events.

We have this past year seen a great number of our members cross the bar, sadly a consequence of an ageing membership.  Where possible, and at the bereaved families request, our National Standard Bearer Tony Cooke has travelled the length and breadth of the country, supported by Divisional Standard Bearers, and of course our events co-ordinator Des Kerrigan, and many members.

Colin said he was proud and humbled to be part of the 50+ members that attended our past NSB, Tony Higgins, funeral at Porchester Crematorium.  Route lining and led by 10 Standards was a truly fitting send off, and the obituary given by Bob Campbell was indeed very fitting and excellently delivered, as you would expect from a Ganges Boy.

Colin and a large number of members travelled to Falmouth for the Remembrance Service and

Parade to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the raid on St Nazaire.  The Mayor, an exGanges boy, was soon convinced by MemSec Ken Bushnell, to become a member; an open invitation was issued to all by the Sailing Club at Mylor, and a service of our own was held at the Mylor Memorial.  Another example of the continued efforts to promote the Association.

In 2017 we will attend many parades and remembrance services around the country to let everyone know that the HMS Ganges Association is alive and kicking, in good health, and the place to be if you were a Ganges Boy.  So if you can, please come along.

Colin said he was heartened by the fact that we continue to recruit new members, and some old ones returning to the fold.  Ken’s (MemSec) efforts in recruiting and extracting subs should not go unmentioned.

Colin said he had mentioned a few squalls along the way, but said he would like to make one thing clear.  He could not be held responsible for what has happened in the past.  He had read and heard many things, and firmly believed that we should never forget our heritage, where we came from, and what and who brought us together as an Association.  The Association has come through some very trying times, many things have changed, but we are on a very strong footing, both with the level of membership and financially.  We have a hard working committee made up of people with good and complementary skill sets, who communicate almost daily and deal with problems to the best of their ability, all in their free time.  There is a time to draw a line in the sand and go forward.  This is our intention, and Colin said if it was not that of the members then he was not the person they should be voting in as Chairman.

Finally Colin thanked Shep and Shirley and her team from IOW Tours who had put in an immense amount of work in the organisation of this Reunion.  He hoped everyone had a great weekend, and said that, although Shep was going to take more of a back seat in the future he was sure that he would always be there for wise counsel and guidance.


3.       Minutes of 2016 AGM

The Secretary, Cliff Snelling, said that everyone should have received a copy of the Minutes of the 2016 AGM, and asked for a vote of approval.  The proposal was carried.  There were no matters arising.

4.       Association Accounts

The Secretary asked for a vote to approve the Association Accounts for the period 1st April 2015 to 31st March 2016.  The proposal was carried.


5.      Treasurer Report

The Treasurer, Phil Bridge, said that as of 31 March 2017 the Association portfolio amounts to: £67,008.15, made up as follows:

Community Account:           £6,351.11 Reunion Account:               £290.32 Tracker Account:              £60,000.00

Petty Cash Box:                          £24.42


We have fixed assets of £342.30 (LapTop x 2 and Voice Recorder).

All figures correct as of 31 March 2017.

As members can see our Association is in a healthy position; we are now in the position we were in before the legal actions and financial misuse back in 2011/2012. Well done everyone for your continued support.

Our major income, from subscriptions and donations, this year was £33,903, down just over £2,000 on the previous year.

In the past year our major expenses have been:

Gazette x 3    £13,792.46    (2015/16 it was £17,045.48) N.S.B Expenses       £3,068.58            (2015/16 it was £2,083.20) Committee Travel      £1,401.30      (2015/16 it was ££1,876.91) GA Promotion Team    £1,129.30      (2015/16 it was £1,708.85)

Since the last AGM we have donated £1,000 to Pembroke House, £300 to the SCC Support

Fund, £100 to RNRMC, £900 to the Membership Christmas Draw, and paid out £2,500 for the Grand Draw 2016, £183 for the upkeep of the Mylor Memorial, and £249 for Cap Tallies for the Almoner to send out to families of those members who have CTB.

Our Profit over Loss for 2016/17 is £12,357.87. In 2015/16 it was £17,278.17, but we have made many more donations in the past year than in previous years.

The 2017 Grand Draw is again a great success thanks to Dick and Catherine and their commitment and drive in organising this event. So far the draw has raised approximately £3,800 profit, this deserves a big thank you to them both.

Phil thanked David Rye, Des Kerrigan and Dave & Ann Fagg for their time in examining his books.


6.       Membership Secretary Report

 The Membership Secretary, Ken Bushnell, stated that total membership consists of a number of facets.


Active Members 1259
Life Members 821
Associate Members 76
Lapsed Members 332


Ken said that Life Membership had ceased in January 2012 but those who qualified before that date continue to enjoy this status.  Contributions from Life Members continue and their generosity is very much appreciated.


We have two categories of Lapsed Members:

  1. Where Gazettes and correspondence has been returned to MemSec ‘Address not Known’ – 173 – mainly Life Members.
  2. Where a member continues to pay the incorrect subs although they have been contacted on at least three occasions, all to no avail – 159.

Lapsed Members do not receive the Gazette.


86 members CTB during the period April 2016 to March 2017.  During the same period 53 new members have joined the Association.


It’s encouraging to see the arrival of new members, especially when one hears of associations struggling to maintain their standing.


Ken said he would like to pay tribute to a very fine lady – Mrs Brenda Chitty – who on behalf of the Association collects our subs in Australia.


A courteous reminder to members – when moving house of if you have any change of circumstances, please inform the MemSec.


Ken said that he would be available all day to receive subs, donations and membership enquiries, or just come and say hello.


Finally, on behalf of MemSec and Co, Ken wished everyone a fantastic Reunion 2017 and hope to see everyone again in 2018.


7.      Certificate Secretary’s Report


Certificate Secretary, Florrie Ford, said it had been a really busy year for certificates, they have been sailing through the letterbox at a rate of knots.


Florrie said it had been a year since he took over from Gary Faulkner and he had looked into the history of the certificates which were first done on card.  Florrie said he had redesigned the certificates, and with the approval of the Committee, they were now being printed professionally by a local printer.  We have printed over 150 certificates since the last AGM, they have been posted to Canada, Australia, South Africa, the USA, England and Wales.   Florrie said he had sourced new frames to fit the certificates but had stopped posting the certificate in frames as most of the frames were getting damaged more often than not.


Florrie asked that those members being presented with certificates, or who think they are, could they please see him after the AGM to confirm that they are on the list.


Florrie said that those members wishing to have a certificate presented at AGM 2018 should ensure that he receives their request no later than 31 March 2018.


8.       Museum Report


June Lawford-Randall, Secretary of the HMS Ganges Museum said that having just completed her first year as Secretary it had been a bit of a learning curve!


Did you know that, as a Charity, the Museum is not allowed to make a profit – sales must not exceed the value of donations – or they could cease to become a Charity.  The Charities Commission, which gave the Museum its registration, requires them to keep them informed and updated annually on their situation.


June said that the first task needing attention last summer was to secure Accreditation status which is awarded by The Arts Council.  This identifies HMS Ganges Association Museum as a nationally recognised museum, though run solely by our great team of volunteers, providing access to a number of funding routes and support in the form of professional advice and training to help us to grow and thrive and we have two new mentors whom we can call on at any time.  Therefore it is important that we pursue this opportunity to keep the Museum secure for the future – for our children’s, children’s, children – who are starting to arrive in good numbers – but especially in the museum.


28th October 2016 was the date when Shotley village commemorated the 40 years since the gates closed at Ganges.  The weekend events and exhibition held was a remarkable success, bringing memories to the fore evidenced by handwritten stories and old photographs contributed by the Shotley community, and some courtesy of Mr Fisk.  Whilst the closing of the site was a sad event, the relationship of the community with HMS Ganges was remembered with great fondness by about 300 people, and it is hoped that a booklet will be produced to record the material we collected.


For the general running of the Museum, the Trustees meet mostly once a month, with minutes, actions and planning constantly being reviewed and updated – and we generally get together on Wednesday mornings.  As a whole, lots of time has been spent on keeping the museum ship-shape and safe, putting the Jutland Display together, looking after our visitors and groups, both in and out of normal hours, diary checking, updating membership and distribution lists, planning and preparing papers for the AGM and Training Day, recording and displaying artefacts, banking sales and donations, recording visitor numbers and volunteer hours, reviewing forms, keeping an eye on slops, stock levels, contacts, suppliers and lead times to avoid stock shortages whenever possible etc., but the list is endless.


The more recent tidal surge once again placed the Museum in danger of flooding but Tony, Derek and Lynden, did their best to protect all vulnerable entrances and the threat fortunately diverted.


Flats will be built on the Marina and Faith, Hope and Charity have now been fully uncovered as part of the work.


This year we were very sorry to see our Archivist, Jack Whelan, step down as a Trustee.  He has worked very hard for several years to ensure that everything was done according to the book to look after our artefacts.  However, Jack will still be about supporting us as a volunteer and no doubt keeping an eye on his successor, my husband Tony.


On our new website you will see the heading ‘Artefacts’.  A system called E-Hive has been used to transfer all our photographs so they are available for anyone to search and view on that page.  Whilst the museum is solvent, there has been unavoidable expense to provide this immense online service.


We were also sorry to see Annette Ellis step down but she will remain as a volunteer.  Her experience of social media and knowledge of museums has been invaluable.  Our involvement on the HMS Ganges Museum Facebook page, the separate HMS Ganges page, and Twitter, has resulted in many artefacts being sent in, membership applications, fact and photo finding requests and again, memory sharing.  Our best posting was the newly revealed state of Faith, Hope and Charity, reaching about 5,500 people in only two days.  The phrase ‘social media’ could fill you with dread – but it has provided HMS Ganges Museum with multiple benefits – see our reviews on Trip Advisor.


With our two new Trustees, Roger Jones and Deborah Potts we have a fantastic, growing team supporting all the work involved and we were very proud for Dave Andrews who received a community award from Shotley Parish Council.  As you can imagine we can always find room for more volunteers.


The museum would benefit from having more members, so please let me have your details if you would like to support us for only £5 per year.


Over the past year it has been my absolute pleasure to meet some of you, our top-rate volunteers, listening to your tales and generally enjoying your banter, spirit and pride.  Many days have been spent dealing with email and telephone enquiries and best of all meeting several visitors who either arrange a visit out of season, as a surprise, as a group, and those who phone us from the museum doors hoping for a peep inside not realising that we were closed.


June said that this year she had done her very best to settle in to the role of Secretary, learning the tasks and procedures with some very patient support from Tony.  There’s still more to do but she had a passionate belief in the need to keep the heritage of HMS Ganges alive and, by doing that, giving respect to the many lads who served and went on to greater things.


The Chairman thanked June for her report which was very informative.  He went on to say that although social media could be fantastic it could also be misleading with much misinformation being promulgated.  Colin said that the Museum and the Association are intrinsically linked, but they are two separate groups.  The Association does not own the Museum.  The Museum is a Charity and is governed by the Charity Commission rules.  The Association is not a charity.  However, we will always continue to work together and support each other.


9.       Events & Standards Report


Des said that he could still taste the salt sea air on his lips whilst sitting there in landlocked Bushey thinking of the fantastic weekend us Ganges Boys and Girls spent in Falmouth representing our fine Association recently.  Twenty plus Members and Associates with their wives and partners made the trip West, in March, to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the St Nazaire Raid.  We were treated like Royalty by Falmouth Town Council, and the incumbent Mayor, being an ex-Ganges Boy, was persuaded to join our ranks by MemSec Ken.  Two Tea and Sticky Sessions in the Mayor’s parlour, with an exchange of gifts, the Ganges Platoon marching in the Parade, the Service, and our visit to Mylor and the Ganges Memorial were the highlights of the week end.  Thanks particularly to Martin Wiltshire for carrying the Solent Division’s HMS GANGES Association Standard.  Ganges Wreaths were laid at the Falmouth Memorial and our Ganges Memorial at Mylor.  Our Ganges Boy, Nick Crow from North Devon donated a beautiful crystal bowl and Shep made the presentation to the Mayor.  It will be suitably engraved and will remind them of our Association’s visit and involvement in their 75th Anniversary.  It is surprising how many of us, including myself, served in HMS Falmouth over the years.


Attendance at Funerals throughout the UK by our National Standard Bearer, Tony Cooke, supporting the Ganges Families in their time of grief, remains paramount.  Paddy Minns, other Local Divisions’ Standards and Des support where we can which is all part of our Association’s being.  Please remember that Des now holds a stock of HMS Ganges Wreaths, if a Family specially requests one for a Member’s funeral.


On a brighter note, the West London Division and Uxbridge RNA Members recently welcomed

The Right Honourable Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary and our local MP, to our RNA Club.

He was most impressed by what he saw and was given a comprehensive guide by our own Terry Briggs, keeping it very light-hearted.  Des said that he came across as a most informed gentleman, but he did insist on calling our ships ‘boats’!  We did correct him!!


Finally, a brief reminder to all – it is hoped that we will arrange a HMSGA Platoon for the biennial RNA/Combined Naval Associations Parade in London on Sunday 17 September 2017.  We have managed a good turnout in the past.  Names to Des please as soon as possible, to give us some idea of numbers.


10. ‘Perky’ Mellow Award (Smartest Standard Bearer)


Des Kerrigan asked Eddie Seaborne and Shep Woolley to present the Perky Mellow Award.  Shep thanked Dickie Doyle for providing the bars for the Standard Bearers.  Shep said, once again, it had been an extremely difficult decision as all the Standard Bearers were very smart. Eddie Seaborne presented the ‘Perky’ Mellow Award to the winner – Alan Hudspeth of Solent Division.


11. Address by Chief Scrutineer, Basil Dowing-Waite


Basil Downing-Waite said that even though the rules had been changed for voting to take place at Reunion, he had only received 16 voting forms from members unable to attend.


Basil read out each proposal, and asked members to raise their hands, For or Against.

  1. To re-elect Cliff Snelling to the Committee as Secretary for the electoral period as of 2017. Carried unanimously.
  2. To re-elect Des Kerrigan to the Committee as Events & Standards Organiser for the electoral period as of 2017.

Carried unanimously.

  1. To re-elect Charles (Florrie) Ford to the Committee as Certificate Secretary for the electoral period as of 2017.

Carried unanimously.

  1. To re-elect John (Shep) Woolley to the Committee for the electoral period as of 2017. Carried unanimously.
  2. To elect Colin Gent to the Committee as Chairman for the electoral period as of 2017. Carried unanimously.
  3. To elect Tony Willders to the Committee for the electoral period as of 2017. Carried unanimously.
  4. To elect George Barnham to the Committee for the electoral period as of 2017.

Carried unanimously.

  1. To replace the current Rule 6(g)

This proposal was withdrawn by the Seconder and Proposer just prior to the commencement of the AGM.

  1. To change Rule 17, Dissolution of the Association

A letter in support of this proposal from Jim Worlding was read out by the Secretary, as Jim Worlding did not attend Reunion.  The Chairman, Colin Gent, said that he had discussed this proposal with Jim, and with the HMS Ganges Association Museum who were unaware of it.  The Chairman said that the Committee did not support the proposal, but that the decision was for the members of the Association to make.

For: 24         Against: 144   (this included all votes submitted to the Chief Scrutineer by members unable to attend the AGM)


12. Reunion Secretary Report


Shep Woolley said that everything was going well and he hoped all the members were enjoying themselves.  Isle of Wight Tours had done a fantastic job of organising the Reunion this year.


Shep asked for members to support Christine, one of the Gunton Hall front of house staff, who was running in the London Marathon on Sunday for Meningitis Now.  HMSGA donated £100.  A bucket was passed around for members to make donations.


Shep said that Colin Lambird’s wife had presented the Association with a bottle of Pussers at Colin’s funeral.  Stan Moody had kindly provided a stand and the Rum Maiden would be raffled, with the money raised going to the Sea Cadets.


Shep invited everyone to the Solent Division ‘Sausage Sizzle’ which will take place on 22 July

2017 at Whale Island at a cost of £10 each.  Anyone interested should contact Bob Campbell.


Shep said he was standing down from organising Reunions, and handing over to Tony Willders, saying the Association needed younger members to take up the reins.  AGM and Reunion 2018 will be at Mill Rythe, Hayling Island, 13-16th April.  Details will be in the Summer Gazette.


Finally, Shep said that members of the Committee could not do such a worthwhile job without the support of their partners. The Chairman made small presentations to Secretary Cliff Snelling and his wife Christine, to MemSec Ken Bushnell and his wife Annette, and to Hanny

Bridge, thanking them for all their hard work.  A presentation was also made to our Almoner, Colin (Pancho) Brett to acknowledge the sterling work he does in supporting the bereaved families of those members who CTB.


13. Closing Remarks


The Chairman thanked Dick Binch and his wife for volunteering to stay on and do the Grand Draw for 2017.  However, Dick would now be standing down and a volunteer is required to take his place.


Terry Strawson (Norfolk Division) was invited to come forward to talk to members about the Marshlands Maritime Museum located in Clenchwarton near Kings Lynn, Norfolk, which has over 3,000 Royal Navy exhibits, including lots of Ganges memorabilia.  Members were invited to visit (free) what is considered to be the best privately owned museum in the country.  A local hostelry is located near by!  See for more information.


The Bone of Contention was awarded to Michael Kerr (USA).


Finally, the Treasurer, Phil Bridge announced that John Pring had left a legacy to the

Association in his will.  Final figures were not yet available but it was thought the amount could be around £5,000.


The meeting closed at 11:57 and ‘Up Spirits’ was piped.


Cliff Snelling Hon Sec

HMS GANGES Devonport Division Meeting – May 2017

Forwarded by Basil Downing-Waite


General Meeting Tuesday 2nd May 2017


Apologies.  Joe & Thelma Main, Bill & Christine Mansfield, Dave & Linn Skinner, Jean Bartlett, Mike & Wendy Phillips, Fred & Joan Ford, Charlie & Penny Reid, Scouse & Christine Mansfield, Jim & Sue Murphy, Terry Thomas.

MINUTES OF LAST MEETING: Read and accepted.


SECRETARY: Overseas News Letters received and distributed. Everything continues to move along OK.

TREASURER: Sue continues to be happy with the level of finance.


MAY: Saturday 20th, chicken and chips social. £5.00 per head payable in advance, please.

JUNE. Sunday 18th Weymouth Veterans Parade. Saturday 24th Armed Forces Day.

JULY> Friday 7th. Ladies Night. Wednesday 12th, Lunch with the Cornwall Division at Windy Ridge. Saturday 29th. Black Tot Bar-B.Q.

SEPTEMBER. Saturday 2nd Social event organised by the ladies.

 FEDERATION.  Bill the reported all is well.  Royal Marine Band booked for Remembrance Festival.

Standards requested for May.

Friday May 19th Lord Mayors Choosing Guildhall. Muster 10:00

Sunday May 21st Lord Mayors Civic Service St Andrews.  Muster 10:00

Friday 26th May.  U.S Naval Memorial. Tarmar Bridge car park. Muster 11:30

Sunday 28th May. Malay & Borneo Vets. Belvedere Garden the Hoe. Muster time TBA

WELFARE REPORT. Joe & Thelma. Thelma is soon being discharged from Hospital following extensive check-ups. Betty Hutson is in contact with them. Scouse Mansfiled. Continues to have good days and bad days. Shirley Saunders Continues to make progress following knee surgery and hopes to be back on board soon.

Jean Bartlett. Jean has recently moved home but unfortunate has suffered a stroke in her right eye that is obviously restricting her mobility having to give up driving. Basil has assured Jean that she remains on our books and arrangements can be made to transport her to any of our meetings or events she may wish to attend. Terry Thomas is suffering from a leg problem so will be out of commission for a time.  We wish them a speedy return to more comfortable days.


 1.  Ron Dawson Funeral. This was carried out exactly as Audrey wanted according to Ron’s wishes. It was a dignified and quiet event. With several of our members being unable to attend as they were at the National reunion, four of our members with their wives attended and the family were very pleased.

  1.  Junior Field Gun Festival. Having attended Dave Hutson gave a report. It was somewhat disappointing that it only had two Schools participated but it was assumed it was because that several schools had children participating in the half marathon that had taken place in the morning.
  2. 3.  National re-union feedback. Smudge Smith read out a report that indicated it was a good re-union enjoyed by all.

 THE RAFFLE raised the sum of £61.00. Thanks to all those who donated prizes.

NEXT MEETING: Tuesday 6th June 2017.


Snap 2017-05-05 at 08.48.20

Bernard Smith – Mike Maries – Mike Phillips 

img336Snap 2017-05-05 at 08.47.55 

Sam Raspision, Tony Cooke, Mike Newstead                       Church Service

Tony Griffiths and Basil Downing-Waite



Newsletter May 2017

This newslewtter will also be emailed to all members and associates








 Hi everyone,


Well another month has sailed into history, last month we saw the sudden passing of the South Australian President Mr David Friend, and in February we saw the passing of one of our own – CMDR Hugh Wills RN CJX871564 – Collingwood Division – 44U Class – who joined Ganges 03-06-1949.


Sailor - rest your oar-2


Hugh was also an author having written a book by the name of ‘The Bosun’s Call’ which is available from Amazon for $5.32 (the link to the Amazon page is at the end of this newsletter)


The Bosun’s Call describes the author’s hilarious experiences during his time spent on the ‘lower deck’ in the Royal Navy; starting as a Boy Seaman, he slowly makes his uncertain way towards his goal of becoming a Naval Officer. Covering the years 1949 to 1956, we experience a Country still on wartime rationing, low pay, strict discipline and a time of general drabness. Yet despite this, most young people were filled with optimism brought beautifully to life in this tale of eccentric and colourful characters serving on both the lower deck and in the wardroom.

The 1950s embraced the evening of Britain’s naval might when individuality and initiative breathed more freely; the days before the stream of defence cuts, back-seat driving, an overzealous ‘nanny state’ and political correctness began to militate against the Royal Navy’s presence and her people. But Hugh Willis has faith. He knows that the spirit, determination, common sense and inimitable humour of our sailors’ will continue to flourish while they still sail the ‘Seven Seas’.

 AGM Date

And, as pointed out by many, I promulgated the incorrect date for the AGM in June, it is actually on the 24th not the 23rd as I posted, apologies for the error.

Request from RN Archives

I have also found an interesting site on which the RN Research Archive have posted a number of photographs which seem to remain a mystery and are asking if anyone can

identify them, they range from establishments to ports to ships, if your interested have a look at



Also many thanks for all those who participated in the ANZAC Day Dawn Service and march, as you are aware it commemorates the members of the Australian and

New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli  in the Ottoman Empire during World War I. We now also remember all “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations” and “the contribution and suffering of all those who have served.”

 Victorian Division

The Victorian Division is having a ‘get together’ – details are:


The Victorian Division invites graduates of the Admiralty finishing school, instructors ships company their friends, families and associates to participate in an enjoyable time  of fun, friendship and various activities at the:-

Victorian Division Five Night Get Together at Yarrawonga/Mulwala

When From Sunday October  Monday 16th-Friday 21st..  October 2017

Where Yarrawonga Mulwala



The ‘Tot”

In closing I’d like to post a brief history of the “tot” written by Harry Sword

Imagine downing half a pint of overproof rum and then going back to work. Now, let’s imagine work happened to be on the decks of a vast 18th-century Royal Navy ship. We’re talking old-school sea stuff here: complex knots, gunpowder kegs, cannon balls, climbing up rigging, etc.
Feel a little woozy, eh? All thumbs, perhaps?

Well, folks, this is no fantasy. Until July 31, 1970, bracingly strong overproof rum was a vital part of the fabric of the British Navy—rationed, used as a currency, and a veritable way of life.

“The daily tot”—or rum ration—was an eagerly anticipated daily ritual for generations of sailors, serving both to boost morale and provide a stern alcoholic kick to the chops, a comfort to sailors used to dodging cannonballs, grapeshot, and the lash.

But why rum? While the cliche of the drunken sailor—staggering on the docks after a night

of hell-raising in some seamy fleshpot—is deeply ingrained in the national subconscious, it bears mentioning that rum was not always the Naval drink of choice. Until the Napoleonic Wars, sailors were given a staggering gallon of beer per day, per man, instead of water. Soaring temperatures below deck—in the stinking bowels of the hold—saw that water, encased as it was in rotting oak barrels, would quickly become covered in a thick layer of green mould. This led to stronger brews being developed that could withhold the rigours of longer journeys; but they too were prone to rot, and so a stronger solution was sought.

In the 17th century, the men were given French brandy; later, sailors from the East India Company adopted a fearsome Indian spirit called arak. However, this came to be mistrusted by sailors, due to its unpredictable—and often violently sickening—effects. Gareth Oliver describes the devastating effect in his Oxford Companion to Beer:

“Madeira, Beer and Wine were imported from England by the Captains of the ships—the East India Men—but were originally available in small quantities at steep prices. Instead, many favoured the local alternative. Arak was, by any standards, a hard-core liquor. The local version was made by fermenting raw palm juice in the hot sun …that was it. Several of the first Englishmen to try it died after a 12-hour session and it went onto claim countless lives.”
Rum, meanwhile, had the advantage of being both easily available from the Caribbean colonies and a more stable drink. By 1731, it was the drink of choice for the Navy and was issued twice daily to the men—neat overproof rum—in half pints. Indeed the very term “overproof” has its origins in this period; sailors would test the purity of rum by dousing gunpowder in the spirit and setting it on fire, thus “proving” that the drink was of sufficient strength (i.e., 57 percent alcohol by volume).

You gotta be sure it’s pure, right?

The rum ration itself came with its own ritual attached. Issued between 11 AM and noon, sailors would shout, “Stand fast for the Holy Ghost.” Each battalion would have an assigned “rum bosun” (or boatswain) whose job it would be to spoon out the rum. The glasses themselves were never washed, as it was believed that the accumulative effect of the residue would provide a progressively stronger tot.

But although rum was massively popular among the sailors, there were attendant problems—namely, drunkenness and ill-discipline. After all, we’re talking vast quantities of strong spirits consumed twice daily, often in full glare of the baking sun.

How to combat this? How to pacify men who were, by now, all but genetically programmed to quaff huge drafts of spirits, twice daily, on the clock?

A chap called Admiral Vernon—commander in chief of the West Indies Station—thought he had the answer: Water it down a bit! As you might imagine, this was not the most popular of policies among the swarthy seadogs, but it was one he felt to be absolutely necessary. On August 21, 1740, he issued his infamous Order No. 349 to captains, stating:

“[The rum should] be every day mixed with the proportion of a quart of water to a half pint of rum, to be mixed in a scuttled butt kept for that purpose, and to be done upon the deck, and in the presence of the Lieutenant of the Watch who is to take particular care to see that the men are not defrauded in having their full allowance of rum … and let those that are good husband men receive extra lime juice and sugar that it be made more palatable

to them.”

Vernon was alarmed by what he saw as wanton drunkenness on board, and his decree was specifically designed to stop what he described as“ the pernicious custom of the seaman drinking their allowance of rum in drams, and often at once, attended with many fatal effects to their morals as well as their health … besides the ill consequences of stupefying their rational qualities.”

Whether this was effective in combating drunkenness is debatable. After all, the men would still be getting the full half pint of rum, just with a little water added. Crafty sailors could still simply save up their rations and down them in one go, in an almighty binge.

The thwacking great dose of booze was still relatively pure, bar the sugar and lime juice. The latter, incidentally, was not just for show—it was used to ward off scurvy. (It’s also the origin of the term “limey” to describe an Englishman.) Popular or not, the resulting mixture—overproof rum, water, sugar and lime juice—was nicknamed “grog” by sailors (reportedly the result of Admiral Vernon’s wearing of a grogram cloak). The gloriously named “scuttled butt” listed in Vernon’s decree was soon issued to all Naval ships, rechristened the “grog tub,” while “splice the mainbrace” was (and remains) the order a captain can give to issue all hands a drink.

Rum was more than mere drink on board, however. It was also used as informal currency. The system was worked out according to how much of another sailors tot you took: a “wet” was the equivalent of covering your lips with rum, but not actually swallowing any of the liquid; a “sipper” was a small sip; a “gulper” was one large swallow. The most prized of all was the dubiously named “sandy bottoms” or drinking the entirety of another man’s tot—a rare privilege used to settle debts.

And so, until 1971, rum remained part of the very fabric of sailing life, though not in such foolhardy quantities. The tot itself was reduced twice from its original mighty half pint. In 1823, it was cut to a quarter pint; it was cut once more to an eighth of a pint in 1850, where it remained until 1970. Known as “Black Tot Day,” July 31, 1970 was the last day that the Royal Navy were rationed a tot of rum. It was a day of serious mourning.

On December 17, 1969 The Admiralty Board wrote to the House of Commons, stating, “The Admiralty Board concludes that the rum issue is no longer compatible with the high standards of efficiency required now that the individual’s tasks in ships are concerned with complex, and often delicate, machinery and systems on the correct functioning of which people’s lives may depend.”

Thus the ration was consigned to history. Sailors wore black armbands for the poor lost spirit; some held a funeral for their tots, pouring them into the sea in ceremonial burial. A vital part of British boozing history was consigned to the briny deep forever.

Splice the mainbrace!

This article originally appeared on MUNCHIES in September 2015.



Link to Hugh Willis’ book –



Regards and Stand Easy





To contact Scotty

Graham Slaney

3/12-14 Musgrave St, KIRRA, Qld 4225

 Phone  0434896017.





P>S> If you no longer wish to receive newsletters from sunny Queensland, please advise and I will remove your details from the list. Until we meet again, fair winds to you all..


PPS… For those living on the Gold Coast, if you would like a lift to the AGM please let me know..